Wikinews Interview: Experts in IT industry comment about security of WiMAX

Monday, May 5, 2008

Some companies see the possibilities of WiMAX but ignore its threats. Pictured is MTube, developed by the Science and Technology Advisory Group of Executive Yuan of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Image: Rico Shen.

Computers and technology make our modern lifestyle more convenient, but they also create new risks like computer viruses and hacking. Many people want to enjoy the convenience of new technology, but they may not be aware of its problems.

WiMAX is being promoted in Taiwan by the Taipei Computer Association, the Industrial Technology Research Institute and the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Republic of China. It is considered by some to be the communication standard for the next generation of mobile devices.

Information security companies are concerned increasingly by Internet crime, and some of them question the security of WiMAX. After all, everyone wants to welcome this new technology but is afraid of its potential to cause security issues.

Some companies have analyzed potential security issues which threaten the success of WiMAX. But what have they found?

Taking the opportunity of two press conferences in Taiwan, Wikinews Journalist Rico Shen briefly interviewed both Hsiao-wen Hung, President of Microsoft Research Asia and Li Chang, Deputy Secretary General of Taipei Computer Association. With their experience in the IT industry, they agreed to comment on this question.

Hsiao-wen Hung: Information security isn't built in a day

Hsiao-wen Hung: The information security industry isn't built within a simple solution. (Interview audio clip)
Image: Rico Shen.

 ((WN )) Improvements in information technology have certainly brought opportunities, but information security is of particular concern to companies in the security industry. Since this is so, what is the state of information security? Prior to the launch of (Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008)... although WiMAX, a next-generation networking technology, will bring about growth of mobile users, its future has been questioned by some companies in the information security industry.

Hung: Safety and flexibility are like a paddle with two blades. If you want something to be connectible anywhere, there are security considerations. It's like a house which anyone can enter. If you want to ensure the security of your building, there are some difficult things you need to do. That's why security is really a must-have thing. As for information security, as you mentioned earlier, relatively, if a newly-proposed future technology wasn't normally populated, it's a golden opportunity for companies when some security companies properly disputed on its future.

Hung: Even though it's secure to lock everything down, it is inconvenient. Therefore, some key elements like encryption, password authentication, policy, and some Web 2.0 solutions have a key role to play in information security. There were some involuntary and deliberate attackers on the Internet. If anyone wants to prevent them, complete planning should be a priority. That's why the information security industry is built with several solutions and long-term experiences, not a simple solution in a day.

Li Chang: Convergences will be brought for security and IT industries

Li Chang: Convergences will be brought for security and IT industries besides of changes on WiMAX. (Interview audio clip)
Image: Rico Shen.

 ((WN )) What's your opinion on issues raised by IS companies during the "2008 Asia-pacific Information Security Forum"?

Chang: Our member companies will attempt to change the trend. As for our board committee, because (our member) companies mostly manufacture notebook computers, if a common consensus is established among senior executives in the IT industry, I think the objectives of Taipei Computer Association will be more and more clear.

 ((WN )) What's your opinion on Hsiao-wen Hung's statement: "When people want to enjoy a new technology, some protection is necessary"?

Chang: It's an undoubted truth. When a new technology was under development, companies mostly looked at its possibilities, rather than hidden factors like information or data security. As the Internet just begins to be a mature infrastructure, the public might not know how critical security issues are. As for WiMAX, which you mentioned, even though it's under development, you cannot imagine what will happen in the future. That's the opportunity for security industry.

 ((WN )) Before the unveil of WiMAX, what about the disputes from IT industry?

Chang: In the presence, when you connected in a broadband or wireless network, nobody will consider the existence of information flow whether its flow will be safe or unsafe. Although its past experiences is in theory or actual, those (topics) will be focused by (information security) companies. In my opinion, whether to look on its defense or vision, when a company do attempts on a new record or opportunity pursuit, they often oversees its vision first. That's why companies from information security (like Trend Micro) will hold on the sector of defense. After all, besides of the future of WiMAX, there are different and vast opportunities for different industries.


"Peer ahead and look behind" is the basis. When doing anything, it need proper analysis to know its results after it's done. As of WiMAX, although it's the future trend of networking technology, but many companies just looked on its advantages rather than its potential threats which information security companies mostly concerned. "Prevention is better than cure." Even though a technology will bring advantages or disadvantages for different sectors.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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